That Time I Almost Ran Out of Insulin

The eighth annual Diabetes Blog Week took place last week, and today I’m jumping in late and answering the Wildcard prompt.

Whether you or your loved one are newly diagnosed or have been dealing with diabetes for a while, you probably realise that things can (and will) go wrong.  But sometimes the things that go wrong aren’t stressful – instead sometimes they are downright funny!  Go ahead and share your Diabetes Blooper – your “I can’t believe I did that” moment – your big “D-oh” – and let’s all have a good laugh together!!

One day, a good couple of years ago, I went on a day trip with my family to Rottnest Island. I’ll say I’d had diabetes for a year or two at the time.

In the beginning, I was just full of attitude when it came to my diabetes. I didn’t want to admit that my condition had changed me. I didn’t want to admit that it made me different. I hated the thought of relying on a meter, insulin or jellybeans as a just-in-case. It felt weak. It felt like I was giving into my condition.

So, you can only imagine how this teenager with attitude reacted to his parents nagging. Whenever we were travelling somewhere distant, Mum and Dad would nag me.

Have you got your stuff?

Frank, I’ve got a bag here if you want to put anything in it.

Have you got all your stuff?

You get the idea. Cue lots of eye rolling and humming over their voices.

So, we were waiting to board this ferry on a day trip to Rottnest Island, when I suddenly realised that I didn’t have much insulin left in my pen. It wasn’t empty empty, but there was probably only enough in there to cover a meal. I think I gasped, or made some sort of expression that made Mum and Dad aware of the situation. Aside from a few remarks of I asked you if you had all of your stuff!, I don’t remember them getting super mad.

We did have some time up our sleeve before we had to be on that ferry. Dad suggested that if I found a Pharmacy and explained my situation, I’d probably be able to get some insulin. Of course, yours truly stubbornly said that he’d be fine and make it last the duration of the day.

I remember stopping at Dome for a coffee when we arrived, and not having anything. After some wandering round, we stopped for some fish and chips at lunchtime. I knew that if I just ate the fish and left the chips, I would be able to get away with minimal insulin. Of course, yours truly decided to eat his chips as well and ride the minimal insulin and high blood sugars out until the end of the day.

I can’t recall my pen actually reaching it’s threshold that day. I do remember checking my blood sugar on the ferry ride home and getting something like 16. I do remember thinking about getting home and being able to give a correction, which makes me think that my insulin pen did run out that day. But then again, perhaps I was just too self conscious to inject a correction shot on the ferry. Who knows…

What I do know, is that this was the silliest and most irresponsible thing I have ever done with my diabetes. So many things could have gone wrong that day. The ferry could have broken down, leaving me stranded on Rottnest Island, or somewhere inbetween without insulin. The fish and chips could have sent me into ketones if I didn’t have the insulin to cover them, with limited medical assistance available to me while I was offshore.

But I also laugh at this story. Whenever someone tells me that they’ve left their insulin at home or done something irresponsible, I usually refer to this story. I remind them that they can’t ever be as irresponsible as I was that day. I hope I make them feel a little bit less guilty.

On a sidenote, seeing this prompt among the Diabetes Blog Week topics has had me thinking of this blooper all week long.

To read other responses to this prompt, click here.


  1. Rick Phillips

    That clip is fantastic. I love it. Thanks for the good laugh.

    As for leaving something? I have never done that, I mean since at least this afternoon. LOL Sheryl will not let me live it down if she hears me saying it.

  2. Yes, that clip is fantastic! LOL.

    I can’t imagine having to be a teenager with diabetes.

    As far as leaving things behind, I learned my lesson on a trip to the grocery store only a couple of miles from the house. I decided I didn’t need to take my PDM (personal device manager – the control for the Omnipod) because it would be a quick trip. I had my first pod failure halfway through the store. The pods will omit a continuous sound like an extremely loud mosquito until you hit a button on the PDM to acknowledge and deactivate it. With all of the other noises in the store it wasn’t as noticable to the other people but there were one or two people who would look around them for the source of the sound. I just walked casually by…

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